Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Putting Tables within Margins.

Putting Tables within Margins

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 17, 2017)

Need to know a quick way to make sure a too-wide table fits within the margins of your page? Here's a really easy method, available if you are using Word 2000 or a later version:

  1. Right-click anywhere within the table. Word displays a Context menu.
  2. Click on AutoFit. Word displays a submenu.
  3. Within the submenu, choose AutoFit to Window.

If you are using Word 97, follow these steps:

  1. Select the entire table.
  2. Choose Cell Height and Width from the Table menu. This displays the Cell Height and Width dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Column tab is selected.
  4. Adjust the Width of Column setting so it says Auto. (A quick way to do this is to type any letter in the setting, then click on the down arrow on the spinner.)
  5. Click on the OK button.

The result is that each of the column widths of the table is set evenly, with the entire table fitting from margin to margin.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (81) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Putting Tables within Margins.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Editing Word's Built-in Commands

Want to configure Word to do just what you want it to? You can even go so far as to change the actual way in which Word ...

Discover More

Extra Space after Quotation Mark when Pasting

Have you ever noticed how Word can decide to add extra spaces when you paste information into your document? This is part ...

Discover More

Accepting All Formatting Changes

Tired of wading through a bunch of formatting changes when you have Track Changes turned on? Here's how to accept all ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (menu)

Erasing Table Lines

When creating tables, Word provides a handy tool that you can use. Once the table is in place, you can use the table ...

Discover More

Spacing Table Rows Vertically

Want to get just the right amount of spacing above and below text in a table cell? A very easy way to do this is to ...

Discover More

Adding Table Columns to Columns with Merged Cells

Word's table editor allows you to modify the structure of tables in a wide variety of ways. If you want to add columns to ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four less than 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.